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Survey suggests young Irish people returning to work feel ‘out of practice’

24 Sep 2021

The majority of Irish executives agreed that young people went through a ‘development dip’ while working remotely.

As many Irish employees start returning to the office for work, some of the younger members of teams may be feeling apprehensive about the change in environment.

A survey by YouGov commissioned by LinkedIn of more than 100 Irish executives found that nearly all (96pc) believe young people have faced a “development dip” working from home during the pandemic. Nearly half (46pc) agreed that young people’s ability to build meaningful relationships at work has been difficult with the shift to remote working.

Young employees agree. A Censuswide survey of more than 1,000 workers in Ireland found that 75pc those between the ages of 16 and 34 believe their ability to learn on the job while working from home has been affected by the pandemic – leading them to feel “out of practice”.

More than a third (34pc) feel that making conversation with colleagues has been harder and almost three-quarters (73pc) said they’ve forgotten how to conduct themselves in an office environment.

“The past 18 months has revolutionised how most companies in Ireland work. While many professionals are thriving, it has thrown up challenges for some people at the start of their careers,” said Sharon McCooey, head of LinkedIn Ireland.

“There are young people who have never stepped in their office or physically met their colleagues, and in some cases that may have stunted their development if their employer was not able to cater for their needs.”

Being around work colleagues and learning through osmosis was a key experience young people missed out, according to many of the executives surveyed, as was developing soft skills and networking.

“It’s now important to recognise the disproportionate impact the pandemic has had on young people and ensure businesses have the supports in place for them to develop the skills they need to succeed in a new hybrid environment,” McCooey added.

According to LinkedIn, 41pc of Irish businesses are now moving to hybrid working – with work time being divided between the office and employees’ homes.

Earlier this month, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said that while a majority of workers want to return to having in-person contact with one another, they also want to retain flexibility. Speaking to LinkedIn CEO Ryan Roslansky, he said that employees are not just making decisions about how, when and where they work – but also why they work.

Vish Gain
By Vish Gain

Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic since July 2021. He has previously worked as a freelance journalist, writing about business and climate change in Europe. When he’s not writing and editing articles, he’s usually going on long walks around the city, learning Irish or thinking about puns to include in his next headline.

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